PSPs and iPads Competing To Entertain You In Flight
IFE services recently announced that it has agreements settled with six airlines and ongoing negotiations with several more to distribute airline-specific PSPs to be used as in-flight entertainment.
All the necessary considerations have supposedly been made by IFE: The PSPs are designed to “to be comfortably held or positioned on a seatback tray,” which really seems like its inherently true of any portable gaming device, but sure. Also, these PSPs will have an extended battery life offering between 5.5 and 11 hours of gaming time. This is a pretty wide range, which is a bit worrisome.
That 11 might just be there to impress people, and 5.5 hours can still leave a lot of time left over on a long international flight. Still, this is a pretty cool offering, and it’s far superior to the crappy personal-screen solitaire-esque offerings we’re often stuck with now.
But meanwhile (insert zany cartoon cutaway animation of your choice) there is another gadget trying to get on the planes. None other than everybody’s new friend, the iPad. Bluebox Avionics already has one international airline signed up to use its iPad in-flight adaptation, called BlueBox Ai, and they’re looking to sell to more. On these iPads with Bluebox Ai, travelers will be able to watch movies, play games, read books and magazines, and gamble in an in-flight casino. But that’s not all. According to CNET, Bluebox claims that flyers will be able to access the app store and simply obtain whatever app they actually want to use. Bluebox also boasts that users can use it any time, not just during the parts of the flight traditionally allowing electronic devices.
Well, there’s a battle brewing here, to be sure. Looking at it from a passenger standpoint, I have to give my allegiance to Bluebox. It seems like an iPad that lets you do pretty much anything you could possibly want to do on an iPad would be the ultimate entertainment for a flight. But from an airline perspective, IFE seems to be offering a product tailored more to the airline via branding, and less self-promoting. Airlines love to put their names on everything, so the PSP might be the way most of them go, and IFE already has more buyers than Bluebox, at least with the numbers that have been announced so far. Soon enough, each of these services will probably be off the ground (see what I did there?) and then we can actually see which works out for the better. Until then, I’ll be hoping someone announces an in-flight Wii.